My Experience at David’s Bridal, Part I: the Cons

So, David’s Bridal is apparently kind of like the Wal*Mart of the wedding industry. I don’t mean this in an insulting way, I promise. Everyone has to go there, some people love it, some people hate it, and some people do what they need to do and get out while others spend the whole day there.

When I started my dress search, David’s Bridal was where I started. I don’t have a good reason, other than I’m lazy, and I like websites that have everything all on one page (available sizes, cost, and where I can get it). I’ve never once bought a bridal magazine. Maybe I’m unique in that way, but nothing ever caught my eye when I flipped through them at the drugstore.

Let me preface this by saying that I never had a truly bad experience at David’s. It wasn’t all perfect, but that’s true for anywhere. That being said, here are the things I don’t like about David’s Bridal:

  • It’s a corporate store. That means 1) I’m not supporting a local economy, and 2) you have to deal with corporate-type rules (though I suggest making good friends with the sweet store manager).
  • You buy off the rack. Which means your dress has probably been tried on by any number of women, though DB does take (from what I can tell) good care to keep each dress clean and brand new. If your dress isn’t in stock, it takes 6-8 weeks to get it shipped.
  • They like to sell your shit. So be really careful which phone number or e-mail address you give out, because they will sell it, even when they say they won’t. When you check in, you can decline to give an e-mail, and ask that they not sell, which I did, and it probably helped, but I still get lots of calls from their “partners.” And David’s Bridal has lots of partners. I got a call today from the Men’s Wearhouse, from a woman who was CLEARLY reading a script, straight up asking how many tuxes I need for our wedding (“None, goodbye.”).
  • They are trying to sell you every possible accessory they own. So if you’re looking for that, awesome, they have it all in store. If you’re like me, though, and going the DIY/Etsy route for your veil, and buying non-traditional dyeable wedding shoes, they might look at you like you’re crazy. And then try to sell you their stuff anyway.
  • They only sell their “designs.” There’s a mysterious team of designers there that design DB-exclusive gowns. Which means you can expect mostly traditional gowns. They’re getting pretty good at anticipating and providing for current trends, though, which means that in addition to the common ballgown-type dresses, they have a good size handful of tea-length and knee-length gowns, vintage-inspired styles, and newer dress cuts.
  • If you’re a self-proclaimed Offbeat Bride looking for a completely Offbeat dress, I’d probably go somewhere else. Unless you’re willing to wear a bridesmaid dress (and hey, you may be!), their wedding gowns come in 2 colors: white and ivory. Many dresses give you the option to add a sash in one of their 40 colors, but that’s about it.
  • Plus-size options. This is a double-edged sword. I love DB because a large percentage of their gowns are cut for plus-size bodies, meaning you can get a sexy, stylish gown that other designers would only envision on a size 14 or smaller. But, unfortunately, when you go to try on your gowns, they often don’t have these gowns in these larger sizes. Which means you have to be, literally, clipped into your sample dress. Like this: It’s not flattering, it’s not comfortable, and if you’re like me, you’re probably a little bit (okay, a lot) embarrassed when a gaggle of skinny chicks are placed in the room next to you who don’t need clipping into their gown.
  • DB has open viewing-platforms. See those round things I’m standing on? There are 4 of those on each side of a bank of changing rooms. The changing rooms are small (2 people+3 gowns=claustrophobia!) flanked by mirrored walls and lots and lots and lots of open space. So open, that almost anyone in the store can see you standing on a platform with your back fat popping out of a dress that’s 4 sizes too small. I’m not usually very self-conscious about my body (no matter how much back fat I have), but that situation is enough to make ANYONE ready to get the experience over with. Now, to be fair, each store’s stock will vary. I had much greater luck trying on dresses in my size the 2nd time I visited a DB, and only had to be clipped in once or twice. Also, the possibility of being gawked at can be mostly avoided by scheduling an early-morning appointment on a weekday. My first appointment was right when they opened on a Wednesday or something, and only 1 other group came in (bridesmaids for their final fitting). My second appointment, though, was right when they opened on a Saturday. It was fine when I started (so fine that all the store’s employees were at one point around me oohing and ahhing the dress I bought), but by the afternoon rolled around, it was crazy. Really, really packed in there. And I don’t like crowds and can be a little claustrophobic, so I was more than ready to get out there (super fabulous wedding dress in hand!).

Okay, so don’t let this list sway you from a DB forever. These were just my observations, and the things I didn’t like as much. The Pro’s are coming tomorrow, and trust me, there were sooooo many more pros than cons!

Has anyone else noticed similar things about David’s Bridal?

*This is in no way a paid review of any kind. I’m just letting you know how it all went down for me.

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About AshleyGee

I'm a graduate instructor at a completely Southern (Football, Rush Week, and lots of "Hey Y'alls!") university. I teach freshman comp, study
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